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CHICAGO - To Chicago Cubs fans, Ernie Banks was sunshine that cut through decades of darkness. To baseball players, he was the spirit of the game.His teammates loved him, and his list of admirers included President Barack Obama to Pearl Jam to athletes from all over the sports world.And they all got the same person, all the time.Ernie was exactly what you saw, said Don Kessinger, a shortstop who played with Banks in the 1960s. He was a great ballplayer, a great teammate and a great friend.What everyone saw included 512 home runs during a 19-year career that put him in the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. But perhaps more importantly, what everyone appreciated was Mr. Cub, an always positive attitude that sparked a steady stream of tributes after Banks death Friday night at age 83.I know he was Mr. Cub, but he was really Mr. Baseball, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said Saturday. He was really a great, great ambassador for the game.A makeshift memorial outside Wrigley Field on Saturday included flowers, an Ernie Banks bobblehead and pictures of the slugger with fans. A No. 14 jersey was draped over one part of a small fence with the inscription Lets play two — the iconic saying he was known for — and then Not without you written under his trademark line.Another small green sign read Say Holy Cow to Harry and Ron for us, referring to broadcaster Harry Carays famous saying and Ron Santo, another former Cubs player and broadcaster who passed away in 2010.He was the franchise, said Jim Banach, 53, a lifelong Cubs fan who grew on the South Side of Chicago.Linda OBrien, 54, a pharmacy tech from nearby Oak Lawn, said she met Banks a couple of times.He was just so nice, she said. The one time when I got his autograph at the Cubs convention, he was making everybody do exercises in line. I thought that was pretty funny.The Cubs will certainly spend the upcoming season honouring Banks, right from the start. The 2015 major league opener is at Wrigley Field, a Sunday night game on April 5 against St. Louis.In a statement, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama expressed their condolences to the family of Ernie Banks, and to every Chicagoan and baseball fan who loved him. The president said Banks became known as much for his optimism and love of the game as his home runs and back-to-back National League MVPs.He was beloved by baseball fans everywhere, including Michelle, who, when she was a girl, used to sit with her dad and watch him play on TV, Obama said. And in 2013, it was my honour to present Ernie with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.Somewhere, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, his teams behind him, and Mr. Class — Mr. Cub — is ready to play two.Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey said Banks was equally positive around umps. Banks, in fact, never was ejected from a game.He wasnt a griper. Never complained about a strike or an out or a call, Harvey told The Associated Press. Some guys would turn their heads after a pitch and look at you like you were nuts. Not Ernie. It was always, Isnt this a great day to be alive and playing baseball?Banks was playing for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues when the Cubs discovered him in 1953, and purchased his contract for $10,000. He made his major league debut at shortstop on Sept. 17 that year — he was the Cubs first black player — and three days later hit his first home run.One of Banks biggest influences was Buck ONeil, a former player and manager in the Negro Leagues who had a hand in the slugger joining the Cubs. ONeil, who died in 2006, helped prepare Banks for the racism that some of the first black players encountered in the majors.They all seemed to have that innate ability to not allow those experiences to harden their hearts, and an uncanny ability to love universally, said Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. And Ernie got that. I think he got a lot of that from Buck ONeil.Banks was a perennial All-Star, but never reached the post-season and retired in 1971. The Cubs finished below .500 in all but six of his seasons and remain without a pennant since 1945.Like Banks, Hall of Famer Al Kaline made his big league debut in 1953 and played his first All-Star game in 1955. Kaline reached his only World Series in 1968, leading the Tigers to the title.Soon after, he got a telegram from Banks.He knew he was running out of time to get to the World Series. He knew I had played a lot of years, too, Kaline, now 80, told the AP on Saturday. I didnt know him well then, but he understood what it meant to get there later in your career. He congratulated me on becoming a world champion.He played on a lot of good teams, not a lot of great ones. Those fans in Chicago, they loved him. They never got to see a World Series, but they can always say they got to see the great Ernie Banks.___AP Sports Writer Andy Seligman in Chicago and Baseball Writer Ben Walker in New York contributed to this report.___Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap Juan Fernando Quintero Jersey . Steve has built a solid reputation throughout the years - first as a hockey player, then as an NHL general manager and now as a scout. Luis Muriel Colombia Jersey . He was attracted by the punishing defence, the strong running game and a coaching staff he trusted. The 49ers announced Thursday that Manningham had signed a two-year deal to join the team he helped knock out in the NFC championship game two months ago in their latest offensive upgrade at wide receiver. http://www.soccercolombia.us/James-Rodr ... ey-Soccer/. - Alex Dostie scored two goals and assisted on another to lead the Gatineau Olympiques to a 5-3 victory over the Drummondville Voltigeurs in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action on Sunday. Carlos Sanchez Moreno Jersey . The Union looked to have grabbed a big win in the 88th minute when Amobi Okugo finally put the hosts in front. But a terrible giveaway by Union goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi handed Earnshaw the equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time, keeping the Union two points back of fifth-place Red Bull New York for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Colombia Jerseys . Ribery terrorized the Schalke defence throughout and put the home side ahead in the 36th minute when he chipped the goalkeeper before stroking the ball into the empty net. The French winger struck again after the interval, combining with Thomas Mueller on the left before firing a deflected shot beyond the helpless Timo Hildebrand in the 55th, as Bayern bounced back from Wednesdays 1-0 loss at FC Basel in the Champions League.TORONTO - Sergei Bobrovsky won a Vezina Trophy in 2013 and now has a contract to show for being one of the NHLs top goaltenders.The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Bobrovsky to a US$29.7-million, four-year extension that they believe is a worthwhile investment for a 26-year-old in his prime.Im really happy about that and Im really happy to stay with the team and this organization, Bobrovsky said. They were great to me and its great to be a Blue Jacket for four more years.Bobrovsky won the Vezina in the lockout-shortened 2013 season by going 21-11-6 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.In his NHL career, Bobrovsky, who started with the Philadelphia Flyers, has a 2.50 GAA and .918 save percentage.We believe hes only going to improve, Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said before his teams game against the Maple Leafs. Obviously its ultimately its up to the player to prove that hes worth the contract that he gets. Thats the way we operate, we operate on giving them the futures and thats how we evaluate these players every day, but we believe with his hard work and dedication hes going to be one of the top goalies in this league for a long time.This season Bobrovsky is 15-11-2 with a 2.80 GAA and .915 save percentage. He missed time with a fractured finger.It was a shortened year of the NHL and he just kept getting better and better and better and better and his numbers kept getting better and then he won the Vezina, Kekalainen said. And so it took a little longer time than usual (to extend him) but thats part of the process.Bobrovskys new deal makes him the second highest paid goaltender on an annual basis in the NHL behind Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.Obviously getting Sergei signed and him being part of this organization is a big step, coach Todd Richards said. Its great for the organizatiion and great for the team because we know what he means to this team and this franchise.ddddddddddddobrovsky is expected to be named as one of six all-star goaltenders when the league makes its announcement Saturday. All-star weekend is in Columbus.Undrafted and then signed by the Flyers, Bobrovsky was traded at the 2012 draft to the Blue Jackets for second and third-round picks that year and a fourth-rounder in 2013.Bobrovsky almost carried the Blue Jackets to the 2013 playoffs on his shoulders, but they fell short. They made it last season and were beaten in the first round by the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Bobrovsky showed he a franchise goaltender.Bob is a great example of a guy that really puts in the work every day: how he prepares for practice, how he prepares for every game, Kekalainen said. Hes a good example in the locker room and off the ice and on the ice the way he is as a professional. Thats the type of leader we want on our team and thats why weve locked up all these core players.The Blue Jackets recently signed forward Nick Foligno to a $33-million, six-year contract. Bobrovsky said the organization making that deal changed his thinking some.Well, yeah, of course, Bobrovsky said. Foligno is a great teammate, I love him. Its great to stay with him for a long time.Centre Ryan Johansen missed training camp as a restricted free agent without a contract before agreeing to a three-year deal. Hes glad to have Bobrovsky, Foligno and others like Brandon Dubinsky signed long term.Its awesome, Johansen said. Now we can look around the room at each other and know that were in it together and be here for a few years and you look at those guys we signed and theyre some of the biggest players on our team. Its nice were able to lock them up and were lucky to have those great players.___Follow @SWhyno on Twitter China Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale NFL Camo Jerseys Wholesale NFL Gear Cheap Jerseys Online Disocunt Football Jerseys Cheap NFL Black Jerseys ' ' '


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